(Article published in French Property News, September/October 2022 edition.)
1. I’m moving to France in six months, how can I check that a removals company is safe to use and how can I compare removals companies?
It’s worth taking your time to ensure you’re choosing a legitimate and reputable mover. Bear in mind that companies moving household effects to France also need to be fully conversant with the post-Brexit regulations.
One of the main things to always look out for is that they’re members of the British Association of Removers and for, reassurance of their credibility as an international mover; members of FIDI. These accreditations mean that they are independently audited and assessed to guarantee quality and professionalism. This also means that there is a pre-payment protection scheme so advanced payments are protected should the company cease to trade. Also speak to the company about insurance. If they don’t offer insurance, don’t even consider them.
Once you’ve found a moving company or have shortlisted a few, ask them for a quotation. The way they handle this part of the process will be an indication of what sort of service they offer. Sometimes quotes that you can obtain on the internet can seem cheap and realistically they are too good to be true.
Costs generated this way don’t really take into account the specific nature of the move. A house moving survey is necessary to obtain a realistic quote. A moving company should carry out a house moving survey, either in-home or via a video survey, if you prefer, to be able to generate a quote.
Don’t always go for the cheapest. We all know that you will only ever get what you pay for and what may seem a better option in the short term, may cause you more problems in the long term. If you’re obtaining more than one quote, ensure you compare ‘like for like’ services.
2. How soon before I move should I contact the removals company and how do they prepare their quote?
From the perspective of a removal company, we’d ideally ask for three months’ notice to initially make contact with us and three to four weeks’ notice once the quote is accepted. It’s important to be aware that a move now takes longer due to custom formalities. The need to deal with more documents and restrictions has increased transit times and the amount of paperwork that as a customer, a removal company will need you to complete, has also increased. Also bear in mind that bureaucracy in local French town halls can often cause delays.
When it comes to preparing a quote, there are many factors to consider: the size of the truck(s) and the size of the removal crew depending on the volume of effects to be moved; packing materials; whether a shuttle van is required; customs clearance; ferry charges and tolls as well as the running costs of the vehicles. The majority of people moving to France will need to put their furniture into UK storage whilst waiting for a property purchase to be completed and this will also need to be factored into the cost.
Remember that generating an accurate quotation involves the removal company giving value for money for the customer but also resourcing the job properly to enable the removal crew to complete the move professionally.
3. How can I best plan my packing and what help is available?
If you choose to pack yourself allow plenty of time, as it takes longer than you think. The moving company can supply packing cartons and materials, but remember owner-packed goods are not fully insured, whereas those packed by the mover are.
Start by sorting out the loft, any sheds and garages. Decide on what you no longer have need for and arrange to donate them to charity or dispose of and then pack these areas first. It’s the same within the property; de-clutter first and then pack up one room at a time.
Opting for a packing service from a removal company really eases the process. The mover can either pack fragile items (glass, china, mirrors) or they can pack the entire household. Items needing extra care need to be packed in special cartons and with protective materials for maximum peace of mind during your move.